Love films, hate xenophobia

Musa Ndwandwe

Musa Ndwandwe

The recent xenophobic violence in South Africa's informal settlements will be the focus of the annual Durban International Film Festival which will run from July 23 to August 3.

Under the banner "Love Film, Hate Xenophobia", the festival, now in its 29th year, will present films such as Darrell James Roodt's Zimbabwe.

The film looks at the arduous journey a young woman makes from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

Penny Woolcock's Exodus, which imagines a near-future England in which foreigners are incarcerated in a ghetto, is another offering in line with this year's theme.

Others include the moving Canadian film Family Motel about Somali refugees. Victims of Our Richness is a film which dissects the exploitation and brutality experienced by desperate Malian migrants.

Also headlining the festival will be a selection of specially commissioned films under the banner "Filmmakers Against Racism", made specifically about the xenophobic attacks.

Festival director Peter Rorvik explains: "The Durban International Film Festival opens a window to the world, provides access to many different cultures and provides a space in which the cinematic art form transcends national boundaries."

Featuring more than 200 films from more than 95 countries, spread over more than 300 screenings at 26 venues across the city, the festival will bring together established masters of cinema and innovative new talents from around the world.

Opening the festival is the African Premiere of Ralph Ziman's Jerusalema, a gritty gangster thriller set on the harsh streets of Johannesburg.

The festival will close with Mike Leigh's uplifting new comedy, Happy-Go-Lucky.

The main screening venues are: Elizabeth Sneddon; Nu-Metro Cinecentre - Suncoast; Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau - Gateway; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre, KwaMashu; KwaSuka Theatre; the BAT Centre and township screenings.